October 5, 2023

The bid comes as the process to find Chelsea’s new owner appeared to finally be reaching a conclusion

Ineos owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has confirmed he has made a late bid to buy Chelsea. The £4 billion move comes just as it seemed a decision would be reached soon on which of the three other contenders would be handed the reins at Stamford Bridge.

Consortiums led by Todd Boehly; Stephen Pagliuca; and Sir Martin Broughton looked set to be the only options on the table for Chelsea and Raine, the bank advising the club on the takeover, but that no longer seems to be the case.

The move comes just a day after Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nadine Dorries, sent a warning to Chelsea to speed up the process, saying that they were on borrowed time. Speaking on the BBC’s Newscast podcast, she said: “Chelsea is very much on borrowed time at the moment. There is a very short window left for that sale to take place. It has to happen soon.”

Given the due diligence the rest of the candidates have undergone over the past month, it would potentially slow the process if Roman Abramovich and the club were to choose this latest offer from Ratcliffe. Ensuring the club goes into the right hands has seemingly been a priority throughout the process, and making a hurried decision might appear unlikely. Nevertheless, the group led by Ratcliffe remain confident in their bid.

“We put an offer in this morning,” Ratcliffe told The Times on Friday. “We are the only British bid. Our motives are simply to try and create a very fine club in London. We have no profit motive because we make our money in other ways.”

How the three remaining candidates react to the move remains to be seen. Earlier this week they had each been called back to Stamford Bridge to make what were supposed to be their final pitches to the club. However, the process may well be extended further if this new bid is entertained.
The past week has also reportedly seen the three bidders agree to pledge a sizeable charitable donation as part of their offers. According to Sky News that figure is around £500 million each. Presenting clear plans for the future of Stamford Bridge has also been a top priority of Abramovich and the club and it is unknown whether or not Ratcliffe will have the chance to do so.
But The Times does go on to report that the billionaire has pledged an added £1.75 billion of investment over 10 years as owner to develop the ground, team and infrastructure, as well last the £2.75 billion needed to buy the club.

Back at the start of March, shortly after Abramovich confirmed he would be putting the club up for sale, Ratcliffe was asked about his previous attempt to buy the Blues in 2019.

“There was some early exchange but we were a significant way apart on valuations,” Ratcliffe told BBC Five Live. “The issue with Chelsea is its stadium. We are all getting older and it is a decade of your life to resolve that.”

And he explained to The Times in 2019: “Even though clubs have those valuations today, nobody has ever paid those amounts of money. How much did Abramovich pay for Chelsea, £100 million? The Glazers, what £500 million? You can say it’s worth three, four billion but no one has ever paid those sums.

“Ineos has always tried to take a sensible approach. We don’t like squandering money or we wouldn’t be where we are today. It’s part of our DNA, trying to spend sensibly.”

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